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Saga Diagnostics, AstraZeneca Ink Digital PCR Assay Development Deal

NEW YORK – Saga Diagnostics said Tuesday that it has entered into an assay development agreement with AstraZeneca, under which it will develop digital PCR assays for undisclosed methylated targets in both tissue and liquid biopsies. 

James Hadfield, AstraZeneca's director of epigenomics, oncology translational medicine, and oncology R&D, said in a statement that the choice to work with Lund, Sweden-based Saga reflects the "ultrasensitive performance" of its SagaSafe technology, and its ability to tailor complex, custom assays. 

SagaSafe, formerly IBSafe, is a patented digital PCR method that the company says improves sensitivity up to 100-fold over competitors. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

In addition to its new partnership with AstraZeneca Saga has an ongoing collaboration with University College London, in which it is using SagaSafe to detect EGFR and other gene mutations in clinical tissue samples from the Cancer Research UK-funded, UCL-sponsored TRACERx and PEACE studies. 

The firm also recently raised $12.5 million in a Series A financing round.